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As peanut growers in the Virginia-Carolina production belt move toward digging time there is a lot of uncertainty as to the amount of damage done to their crops by record summer heat and scattered cases of extreme drought.
Manage late leaf spot
Keeping peanuts healthy late in the season means managing late leaf spot. Chapin says even a low level infection (less than 1 percent of leaflets with late leaf spot) is cause for concern and should be treated aggressively. The recommended rescue program for late leaf spot is immediate treatment with either Headline 9-12 ounces, Tilt / Bravo 1.5 pints plus 5 ounces Topsin, or Bravo 24 ounces plus Topsin 5-10 ounces. Any of these treatments should be followed in 10 days by an application of Bravo 24 ounces plus Topsin 5-10 ounces or Tilt/Bravo 1.5 pints plus 5 ounces Topsin.
If there is a silver lining to the heat and drought damage to the 2010 peanut crop, it may come in the marketing end. Despite reducing acreage last year, high yields kept peanut supplies high and contract prices low. This year’s crop is likely to make a bigger dent in carryovers, even if acreage remains about the same as 2009.
Across the region corn was devastated, which will likely encourage some growers to plant wheat — if they can find seed — to take advantage of residual nitrogen. Typically more wheat means more double-crop beans, which means less peanut acreage. So, an indirect advantage may be of further reducing peanut acreage in some areas of the V-C Belt.